Five takeaways from that explosive Senate Intel hearing
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 08, 2017,
Jun 08, 2017, 5:49
"If we have a pattern today and tomorrow, I think all these efforts to distract the public that the president may be trying to throw up may not work", Warner said on "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.
For a short moment it appeared the hearing may stay focused on foreign surveillance (Coat's 18-minute opening statement on the topic put one audience member to sleep.) But it quickly shifted to an intense examination of the Trump White House's handling of the Russian Federation probe.
Mr Coats testimony comes a day after the Washington Post reported that he told associates Mr Trump had tried to persuade the FBI to back off their investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his ties to the Kremlin.
Wednesday, Trump announced through his Twitter account that he'd be nominating Christopher Wray as Comey's replacement.
The Senate panel questioned Coats and Rogers about those claims on Wednesday. And you're telling me that Dan Coats didn't quite deny that, at least not in public. The question is "what did Trump ask you to do", not "did you feel pressured or did you feel it was illegal".
Coats, who was preparing for his confirmation hearing, felt blindsided, officials said.
Wednesday's hearing comes as lawmakers press senior intelligence officials on details of the effectiveness of United States surveillance laws, ahead of the scheduled expiry at the end of the year of a key foreign surveillance statute, known as Section 702 after its place in the law books.
Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, who has filled in since Trump fired Comey on May 9, also refused to answer whether he had discussed the firing with Comey himself, saying the issue stepped into the "lane" of the special counsel who has been appointed to investigate the Trump team's possible collusion with Russian Federation.
However, the hearing offered relatively little new information, and shortly after it ended at midday, it was overtaken by the release of a statement by James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who was sacked by Trump on May 9.
When Rogers was pressed on what Trump actually asked him to do, Rogers responded that he'd already answered the question, which he hadn't.
"I have never felt pressured to intervene or interfere in any way with shaping intelligence in a political way or in relation to an ongoing investigation", Coats testified in response to a question from Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.
"You're in positions whereby you're required to keep this committee fully and now informed of intelligence activities", Burr said.
In an interview on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" following the hearing, Republican Sen.
During California Democratic Sen. "At no time should you be in a position that you come to Congress without an answer ..." Kamala Harris' questioning of Rosenstein, Sens.
Republican Senator Richard Burr, who chairs the committee, ended the hearing by appearing to rebuke the intelligence officials for their testimony.